Posted in Debt Free Me

Month End: February Snapshot


At the end of February, all my credit cards have been paid to zero. After discussion with my wife, and explaining the benefits of the installment loan, I got a $9,000 installment loan, and used $1,840 which is a combination of my normal debt reduction payments plus an extra amount to pay all my credit cards to zero. This moment is the 1st since my early 20’s that I’ve been able to pay my credit card debt to zero. I thank God for this moment, and even shared the zero balances with my wife in celebration.

In previous blog posts, I’ve talked about the benefits of using an installment loan to consolidate debt. My wife understandably had her reservations with me getting into more debt, so let me clarify the specific conditions in which using an installment loan for debt consolidation is ideal in my opinion.

  1. Your interest rate is going to be lower than the rate you are paying on your credit cards
  2. You can have control of the term of the loan (36 months, 48 months, or 60 months)
    1. This control is important, because the longer the term the lower your payment will be.
  3. There is no origination fee, or it is financed into the loan.
    1. If there is an origination fee, it will affect your monthly payment amount
  4. Make sure your payment amount will be the same or lower than what you’re currently paying and when it will be to fit in your budget

In my situation there was no origination fee, the payment would be less than what I normally pay on my debt around the 15th of month, and I had enough credit card debt paid down that this would fit with my debt free plan and even accelerate it. I would recommend that you not take out multiple installment consolidate credit card debt if you don’t have the discipline to not use your credit cards and know how the installment loan payment will affect your monthly cash flow. Remember that with installment loans the payments are fixed, however installment loans may improve your credit score, because they have a different weight on to the credit bureaus vs. (credit card) open/revolving credit. Based on this re-structure, I should be able to pay off the lines of credit by the end of this year, and hopefully pay off the installment loan by next year.

If you want to learn more about how I’m increasing my income while reducing debt, or if you want to have someone to discuss your debt reduction strategy with, or if you need a financial check-up, contact me.

Also, learn more about how I use the self-lending principle through contacting me

This month’s video is The Greatest Motivational Video for Success & Gym – VALOR – 35 Minute Motivation Speeches from the Mulligan Brothers YouTube channel.

“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.”
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Deuteronomy
28:12
NLT‬‬
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http://bible.com/116/deu.28.12.nlt‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I believe in your journey to….

A Debt Free Me

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

March 15, 2017

http://www.investopedia.com/news/rich-get-richer-savers-lose-1-trillion/

America’s Gilded Age in the late nineteenth century was famous for industrialists who amassed unimaginable wealth — such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt – and also for the era’s startling poverty. The U.S. is seeing something like that today. The booming stock market, up three-fold since the financial crisis, is no source of excitement for risk-averse small investors and savers, particularly retirees who expected to live off interest income. From 2008 through 2015, U.S. savers lost nearly $1 trillion of income from the cratering of yields on bank deposits and bonds, according to research by insurance company Swiss Re cited by the Wall Street Journal. And that’s even after adjusting for the benefit from paying lower rates on personal debt. Back in 2007 one-year CD yields were close to 4%, and currently one-year CD yields are less than 1%. Many retirees who were dependent upon these higher rates are being forced to find spare to part time work just to make ends meet. Some are moving into the stock market in the hopes of higher yields, and some can’t pay their bills. Time is a valuable tool, and to take advantage of compounding interest, a person must start early and often. A person should constantly be investing in his financial education and at the same time continue to create value for the sake of generating income and or security. I do recommend teaching yourself the self-lending principle as a means of breaking free from the cycle of consumer debt. When you buy assets, buy assets that are passive income producing that can be turned into a system and scaled. Without being creative, I argue a person could become a victim of the wealth gap that today’s current retirees are experiencing. That wealth gap is highlighted by the disparity between the pay of CEOs and their workers, which grew even wider in 2016, according to a study by consulting firm Compensation Advisory Partners, as cited in a Bloomberg story. The study looked at 42 U.S. public companies, a relatively small sampling, but it nonetheless is sure to spark debate. It found a 5.5% median pay hike for their CEOs, roughly double the 2.8% rise for the year in hourly pay for non-farm private sector workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is an income gap between workers and CEOs, so it’s important to work your job but also mind your business. What is your business? Your life. Every penny that comes into your bank account is your responsibility. Make your money work for you without you having to always work for it.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/robert-kiyosaki-says-entrepreneurs-should-read-this-book—-it-will-talk-to-your-soul-2017-02-28

Robert Kiyosaki has an unusual reading recommendation for would-be entrepreneurs — one that even the most devoted fans of the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author might not see coming. It tells the story of a knight about to meet his death in battle. It’s written by a Hollywood movie star. For Kiyosaki, it’s become a treasured read. “Believe it or not I read a lot of spiritual books. One of the best is ‘Rules for a Knight’ by Ethan Hawke,” Kiyosaki said during a January interview, when asked if there were any books he would recommend for MarketWatch readers. “It’s so well written, talks to your soul,” he said of the book. “All my friends are entrepreneurs and they all get copies of it.” This books takes the form of a letter from a knight written to his children right before battle, and it outlines the rules for being a knight. That may not sound like fertile material for learning the secret to success in the 21st century business world, but the knight’s rules do have an aura of entrepreneurial mantra about them. The rule for humility begins, “Never announce that you are a knight, simply behave as one,” while the rule for gratitude states, “For all that has been, a knight says, ‘Thank you.’ For all that is to come, a knight says, ‘Yes!’ ” Robert Kiyosaki states that he only operates at the highest of spiritual values and seeks to do business with people with similar values. Values such as integrity, and honor are words with significant meaning. Personally, I look for a person with strong spiritual values such as transparency, integrity, and consistency. Another book he recommends is “The Untethered Soul,” by Michael A. Singe. If you prefer your reading to be more firmly rooted in the worlds of business and finance, Kiyosaki suggested two books on economics in MarketWatch’s live interview with him in August, which you can read more about here. Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is coming upon its 20th anniversary, and it is a good introduction into looking at money differently. This book was personally recommended by my good friend. His mentoring and this book helped shape in part how I look at finances. If you read that book, then you must read his second book “Cashflow Quadrant”. If you don’t enjoy reading, then I suggest the audio book version or even the short summary clips you can find on YouTube. However, reading is essential to being able to see into how a writer thinks and it’s not the same as a quick edited version. I’ve found that when I’m struggling to read a book, I read something I enjoy reading and then pick up and read from the book I’m struggling with. Block out a time even if you have to set an alarm for it to make the time to read. Your brain is a muscle and it needs a work out from time to time.

Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles above

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section. Also, learn more about the self-lending principle in the mustard seed section.

For this week, I’ve included The Wisdom – Bruce Lee from the Absolute Motivation YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” – Proverbs 28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

March 8, 2017

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-no-1-financial-regret-of-older-americans-2016-05-17

Most Americans are filled with regrets — financial regrets. Fully three in four, in fact, admit they harbor financial regrets, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults by Bankrate.com. Their biggest regret: not saving for retirement early enough (nearly one in five Americans put this in the No. 1 spot). What’s more, among those 65 and up, 27% said this was the biggest regret, compared with 17% of those aged 30 to 49. The author goes on to show the consequences of waiting to save comparing the difference of saving at age 25 vs 35. According to 2015 data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, fully 28% of workers say they have less than $1,000 saved and 17% have between $1,000 and $9,999; meanwhile, just 14% of workers have $250,000 or more saved. That’s far too little, according to many financial advisers: Guidelines from Fidelity, for example, state that by the age of 30, you should have your entire salary saved; by 40, three times your salary saved; and, by 50, six times your salary saved. Other financial regrets include not having an emergency savings and too much student loan debt. It’s important to have a budget to know how much is coming out and when it’s coming out. Make sure you have positive cash flow at the end of the month. If you do, I recommend a simple 10-10-80 strategy and just as important starting to use the self-lending principle.

We’ve all heard the stories of young entrepreneurs who start a successful business from their parents’ basement. But how do you build a business from inside a van? Mariah Coz knows. She built a seven-figure business in a 35-square-foot van–that’s about the size of a small bathroom!–which she shared with her boyfriend as they traveled across the country. They spent about a year and a half on the road, visiting nearly every state in the continental United States. Among her favorite experiences were hiking in Yosemite, exploring Yellowstone, and seeing the Grand Canyon. Mariah took her expertise of living in her camper and turned into an online course, and began teaching business strategy through her company Femtrepreneur. She teaches others interested in freedom how to build online business and offers six important tips. The tips are: be flexible, pick one day a week and block out five to eight hours for work, figure out what chains have the best Wi-Fi and become a repeat customer, do less with more impact, set realistic expectations and goals, and focus on mobile-friendly marketing. You must be able to systematize your business so it will run with as little involvement from you as possible. The author suggests setting aside a block of time to complete all your tasks for the week which will allow focus and productivity. If you are going to use a business’s Wi-Fi I suggest that you have a good identity theft protection plan in place, because your information is on an open network and can become compromised. “When you have limited time to devote to your business, you have to focus on the high-impact activities and cut out all the rest. That means applying the 80-20 principle–focusing on the 20 percent of activities that bring in 80 percent of your revenue. Focus on just one product, one marketing channel–one thing at a time,” she says. Finally, it’s important to set realistic goals while at the same time making sure that your marketing is convenient for your needs if you are constantly traveling. Mariah believes everyone has unique life experiences and skills that can help people and can be monetized. And the good news is, it doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money to get started. As she puts it, “You can start now with what you have, where you are, no matter what situation you are in!” It’s important to act, and to not waste your days because they are measured. Ask yourself how can I take advantage of my unique gifts and knowledge, how can I reach the world and make it better, and how can I do it just once and have it accessible to the world? If you can figure out how to answer these three questions, then in my opinion you can build a business.
Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles above

If you need are interested in creating a budget, then contact me for a financial checkup in the contact me section. Also, learn more about the self-lending principle in the mustard seed section.

For this week, I’ve included Retrain your Mind from the Be Inspired YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

November 16, 2016

http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/11/10/trump-wins-3-stocks-to-buy.aspx

Donald Trump has secured the White House and investor attention is quickly turning to finding companies perfectly positioned to profit from his plans. While no one can know for certain what’s in store, Trump’s plans to ramp up infrastructure spending could make this the right time to pick up shares in Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), and Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF). Trump’s vision for America involves rebuilding bridges, roads, and railroads. It’s estimated that $3.3 trillion is needed to fund this process. Chicago Bridge & Iron has its roots in bridge-building, but the company, which now goes by the name CB&I, has transformed itself into a major player in energy and water infrastructure. This company receives 70% of its revenues from US Projects so it could be a good buy if infrastructure spending increases. Industry watchers target EPS of $4.54 in 2017, and that means that investors can buy shares for less than seven times next year’s estimates. 
Caterpillar’s machines are a staple of construction sites everywhere, but slow global economic growth has caused a downturn in the company’s business over the past few years, and that’s been a drag on its shares. Last quarter, North America sales, which represent about half of the company’s global revenue, fell 20% year over year because of lower infrastructure and mining demand and lower oil prices. If Trump can kick-start U.S. construction activity, then Caterpillar’s North American construction equipment and diesel and natural gas generators revenue should climb. If the company can properly manage its expenses, and its global demand doesn’t decline, then Caterpillar could be a good addition to your portfolio during the Trump presidency. Cliffs Natural Resources is an iron ore company that is the largest producer of iron ore pellets for American steel companies and producers. Over the past year, the company has reduced its debt and cost of goods sold which means a higher net income. The author recommends these stocks, but I encourage you to seek more than one source when adding to your portfolio, and another factor to consider is are you holding to sell or are you holding to hold onto forever? I’d research to see if these stocks are paying a dividend, and if they aren’t what is your exit strategy when you buy this stock? Ultimately ask yourself am I investing for cash flow or capital gains?


http://www.investopedia.com/advisor-network/articles/111116/if-you-win-1-million-can-you-minimize-taxes/

Due to the value of the author’s content, there is heavy quotation:

You may dream of having $1 million, but if you got it what would your tax plan be? One school of thought says just get the money and you can figure out what to do then. I reject that idea and I’ll show you why – the goal should be to keep more of what you make. Let’s start by thinking about professional athletes and entertainers, who often come into large sums of money but find themselves in a different situation regarding taxes. If they are considered independent contractors and not employees, then they would receive their million dollars without any taxes taken out. With even more up-front money in gross income, they could end up spending even more money, only to receive a surprise at tax time when they find out how much they still owe.

In the 1980s I met someone whose boyfriend won $4 million in the lottery. He opted to take the payments whereas most people take the lump sum payment. Was that a good idea? Today, if you take the lump sum in a $1 million lottery, your total federal income taxes are estimated at $356,875. Instead, let’s look at what happens if you take the million dollars as 20 payments of $50,000. Your total federal income taxes are estimated at $5,684. You have saved $243,195 over the 20-year period.

Total Winnings  $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Payments 1 20
Paid Out in Year 1  $1,000,000  $50,000
Taxes in Year 1 $356,875.00 $5,684
Total Received in 20 Years $356,875.00 $113,680
Savings $0 $243,195


This example above shows the power of delayed gratification, and at the same time how much taxes can affect the money you receive. When someone says, they make $50,000 a year, ask yourself is this amount gross income, take home (gross profit) or net income? Most of the time the number is gross income. This amount is before taxes and deductions, so your actual take home pay is a lot loss. In the above scenario, if you were given only $4 million to live in, would you be able to manage it properly to grow or would you spend it all? When you’re investing in assets always think of cash flow, and return on investment. How long will it take for me to get my money back when I put it in on an investment? Remember it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about much money you keep and what you do with it afterwards. With a financial checkup, I can help analyze how much your net income is, and I can show you what I look for when it comes to cash flow.

If you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included Marcus Lemonis’s Top 10 Rules For Success from Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs
28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

November 9, 2016

http://www.investopedia.com/advisor-network/articles/110316/7-ways-grow-your-account-balances/

One of the common top concerns that I hear from individuals is how they’re not able to save. A consistent savings plan helps you build a solid financial foundation. But where do you begin? Here are seven ways to help you grow your account balances. Your strategy starts with your spending plan. (For more, see: 3 Smart Ways to Update Your Investment Plan.) The seven ways are: create a budget, set up a savings plan, considering opening a CD, consider opening an online FDIC-insured savings account, maximize your contributions, consolidate your retirement accounts, and invest early and often. I believe creating a budget is the first and most important step in not just saving money, but money management period. How do you know how much you can save when you don’t know how much you have after all your bills are paid? Your budget should have enough room to save money. There are four steps in my process, and if you’d like to learn about it, you can reach me at the contact me section. The author states that a savings plan should include three to six months of expenses. In my opinion, you should set aside income instead of expenses. The reason is you are more likely to earn more than you spend. Setting aside three or six months’ worth of income will create an additional buffer for unforeseen large expenses. A CD will give you a higher yield vs your savings account, but it will often require a higher amount to open. In regards to savings accounts, your online savings accounts will have a higher annual percentage yield (APY) vs a standard savings account you’d get at your local bank. Personally, I use Ally Bank, but I recommend you use websites such as www.nerdwallet.com or www.bankrate.com to check your rates. Three ways you can maximize your 401K is by maximizing your contributions, consolidating retirement accounts if you’ve moved between jobs, and finally to invest as often as you can early in life. In my opinion, you should invest enough to ensure that your company is matching your contribution. Be sure to check with your HR department to find out how high they will match your contribution. I recommend that you increase your financial knowledge to invest in not just paper assets, but in assets that will produce income. One day you will retire, and it’s better to have multiple streams of income.


https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/278848

Nearly all marketers agree on the importance of social media marketing for business growth. And considering that 33 percent of millennials today say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses, I expect it will become even more important over time. That said, a lot of brands still don’t know how to use social media to engage audiences and help their own bottom line. There is, however, a right — and wrong — way businesses can share their content on social media. Since there is a lot of valuable content in this article there will be a lot of quotes, and I highly recommend that you read this article. The right way is having a business share its content on the platforms where its target audience spends the most time. The author recommends that the business do research into the demographics of different platforms. It’s best to have two focused social accounts to build your business vs. having multiple unused accounts. Even if you have the same end-goal for your content across social media, you should optimize it for each platform’s characteristics and strengths. For example: Videos tend to outperform images on Facebook. Twitter posts, while no more than 140 characters, should be even shorter if you’re including an image. (Luckily, that should be changing soon.) LinkedIn doesn’t support hashtags, so don’t use them. For Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are a necessity. Using visuals can help when you post on any platform, so be sure to use imagery. The author does also state that it is wrong to not vary your content. With the rise of paid social options, it’s no surprise that organic reach has become more difficult for brands. But you can still get the most out of your organic posts by sharing them at optimum times, which tend to vary by platform. Finally, the wrong thing to do when using social media is to spam newsfeeds. Keep in mind having an online presence doesn’t give you a presence in just your local community, with the right infrastructure you could have a global presence. Think differently, and think how you can create an income producing asset. Think about how to increase cash flow, and how to preserve assets. Always keep in mind wealth is a measure of how long your riches will last you. If your income from your assets is greater than your expenses, then you can quit your job and retire rich.

If you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included How to be successful – the success cycle (Tony Robbins) from The Internet Marketer YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

November 2, 2016

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/12/marcus-lemonis-common-pitfalls-any-franchise-must-avoid-to-be-successful.html

When he was in his 20s, Michael “Rooster” McConaughey nearly destroyed the business empire he built. “The biggest failure I had — monetarily wise, business wise — was I went bankrupt,” said McConaughey, a self-made millionaire who co-stars on CNBC’s reality pitch show “West Texas Investors Club.” After striking success in the oil and lead pipe business, McConaughey had nearly spent his whole bundle. “My biggest problem was I could make money, but I couldn’t hold on to it,” he said. “I was going around with all the big shots. I thought, hell, I’ll never see a poor day.” Rooster was making a lot of money, but he was spending it just as fast as he made it. Remember: It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep, and how hard that money works for you once you invest it. Rooster eventually had to go broke, go back to the basics and build a foundation the slow way. Along the way, the entrepreneur learned the value of business partnerships and having good mentors. “It’s amazing how that helps, just knowing someone has confidence and faith in you,” he said. “That’s a hell of a motivator.” The whole purpose of this blog is to present a different way of thinking, and encourage you to seek mentors.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/19/marcus-lemonis-shares-3-simple-tricks-to-increase-your-sales.html

Leading net-lease retail real estate investment trust Realty Income (NYSE:O) just declared its 556th consecutive monthly dividend, which translates to more than 46 years of steady income for shareholders. Just as importantly, the dividend has grown steadily over the years, and the stock’s performance has shattered the S&P’s returns since its 1994 IPO. Here’s why Realty Income is the biggest dividend stock in my portfolio and why you should consider it for your own. This stock has had been a good choice for a long-term investment for income seeking investors and investors who look for growth. This stock has paid 556 consecutive dividends since even before it was listed on the NYSE. Even more impressive are the company’s total returns. Since real estate makes money in two main ways (rental income and price appreciation), Realty Income has been able to deliver market-beating returns to investors. In fact, since the company’s public listing 22 years ago, the average annualized total return has been 17.9%. To put this in perspective, an investor who bought $10,000 worth of Realty Income in 1994 would have more than $340,000 today, assuming they reinvested all of the dividends. The company invests in retail properties that fit three criteria: discount stores, non-discretionary retail, and service-based retail businesses. Also, the company makes sure the lease structure is risk resistant through long-term “net” leases which requires the tenants to pay the property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance expense. One risk factor to consider is if interest rates rise, then it could affect the share price, however this stock isn’t to be held for a short term. The author recommends taking a long term hold of this stock. Personally, I have two different trading accounts. One I use for day trading, and the other I buy shares or ETFs of stocks to hold for the long term. Have an investment strategy that will allow you to have both cash flow and capital gains.

 If you need a financial checkup you can reach me in the contact me section.

For this week, I’ve included The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham – Animated Book Review from PracticalPsychology YouTube channel.

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG